Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, (R-Franklin), speaks to supporters of President Donald Trump as they demonstrate outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Harrisburg, Pa., after Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump to become 46th president of the United States. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) Election 2020 Protests Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, (R-Franklin), speaks to supporters of President Donald Trump as they demonstrate outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Harrisburg, Pa., after Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump to become 46th president of the United States. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Loyalty pays off for “big lie” believer Doug Mastriano, who gains the endorsement of former President Donald Trump just days ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

One month after announcing who he wasn’t endorsing in Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for governor, former President Donald Trump on Saturday endorsed state Sen. Doug Mastriano in the race.

Mastriano is the most vocal Trump loyalist in the race, having continuously spread Trump’s “big lie” about the 2020 election and pushing for the results to be overturned. He launched the “forensic investigation” of Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election results, and participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection by organizing bus trips to the Trump rally near the US Capitol.

Trump referenced Mastriano’s loyalty in the statement announcing his endorsement, calling the retired US Army colonel “a fighter like few others,” who “has been with me right from the beginning, and now I have an obligation to be with him.”

“There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder, for Election Integrity than State Senator Doug Mastriano,” Trump wrote. “He has revealed the Deceit, Corruption, and outright Theft of the 2020 Presidential Election, and will do something about it.”

Recent polls from the Trafalgar Group and Fox News show Mastriano with a double-digit lead among a crowded field of candidates, and Trump’s backing puts him on even stronger footing heading into Tuesday’s primary.

But there are growing fears from party leaders that Mastriano is too extreme and carries too much baggage to win the general election in November, and could drag down other Republicans competing in Pennsylvania races.

Mastriano was subpoenaed by the US House committee investigating Jan. 6 and reportedly never showed for his March 10 deposition.

During a recent debate among the Republican gubernatorial candidates, Mastriano was asked what he would tell voters concerned that he has “legal issues,” stemming from the subpoena.

“There are no legal issues,” Mastriano responded.

At the same debate, the candidates were asked about providing financial assistance to Pennsylvania nursing homes, which have said they’re having to close facilities because of inadequate Medicaid reimbursements. Mastraino responded by floating the baseless accusation that the Wolf administration is guilty of “sending the sick back into the homes which have killed at least 16,000 of our elderly” during the pandemic.

Mastriano has also associated himself with the QAnon movement, including appearing on QAnon programs and amplifying the group’s theories over social media. Last month, Mastriano campaigned at an event promoting QAnon theories in Gettysburg.
Shortly after Trump announced his endorsement of Mastriano, rival Republican candidate Lou Barletta said in a statement, “I am the only candidate who can unite the party and bring victory in November. I look forward to having President Trump’s endorsement Wednesday morning.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.